SMEs eye economic rebound


Set to bounce back: Tourists taking pictures at Armenian Street in George Town, Penang. The tourism sector was also hopeful of coming back stronger through initiatives under Pemer­kasa.

PETALING JAYA: After the country was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, many Malaysians are hopeful that things will get better after the government unveiled the Pemerkasa economic stimulus package.Players in small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as well as those in tourism, are anticipating brighter days ahead after the RM20bil Strategic Programme to Empower the People and Economy (Pemerkasa) package was announced.

They also expressed relief for the timely aid for small businesses.

Small and Medium Enterprises Association Malaysia (Samenta) is happy that the government made the Prihatin 3.0 grant eligible for SMEs as well as injecting an additional RM500mil for soft loans.

Samenta policy and government relations chairman Datuk William Ng said the recent movement control order in several areas such as the Klang Valley, Penang and Johor had exacerbated difficulties faced by many SMEs.

“In our survey in January, 45% of the SMEs indicated that they can only last for two months before their cash reserves run out had the MCO been extended, ” Ng said.

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He said SMEs were also relieved to know that the government would take a more targeted approach when implementing the MCO instead of enforcing a blanket rule nationwide.

The tourism sector, which suffered numerous cancellations throughout the pandemic, was also hopeful of coming back stronger through initiatives under Pemerkasa.

Malaysia Tourism Council president Uzaidi Udanis said Covid-19 had impacted the tourism industry in a manner that players in the sector had never seen before.

“The negative effects on business owners big and small, the cancellation of bookings and packages was unprecedented.

“I have faith that the government is making every effort to save Malaysia and we stand united with the government in addressing the situation to ensure the plans are implemented effectively and efficiently, ” he said.

Under Pemerkasa, the tourism sector is set to benefit from initiatives that would encourage people to explore, discover and unwind at local holiday destinations as tourist and service tax exemptions at hotels will continue until the end of the year.

In another initiative, more than 5,000 travel agencies registered with the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry are set to benefit from a one-off RM3,000 special assistance grant.

Businesses are not the only ones enjoying incentives under Pemerkasa, as youths are also relieved to hear that the government is working to ensure the well-being of the people and the economy are taken care of.

Malaysian Youth Council (MYC) information chief Wan Mohd Husni Abdullah said Pemerkasa was a crucial part of the country’s recovery process as the country’s economy was set to rebound following the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine.

“Four out of five initiatives under Prihatin Belia, for example, focus on youth entrepreneurship with various forms of training and business tools made available to youths, ” he said.

Among the entrepreneurship programmes listed under Pemerkasa include the urban community economy empowerment programme, the New-Gen Entrepreneur Online Bootcamp and the Pemerkasa-Belia micro-credit scheme managed by Bank Simpanan Nasional.

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